Rory McIlroy has announced that he will play in this summer’s French Open at Le Golf National as part of his preparation for the prestigious 2016 British Open event. The 26-year-old will skip the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in the US, which is scheduled to play out on the same weekend.
McIlroy has chosen to play in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Paris as he believes the course will set up in a similar manner to the Ayrshire links of Royal Troon with its undulating slopes and fast greens. His decision to play in the French Open will be seen as a huge boost for the European Tour.
The two events are scheduled to clash on the same weekend in late June as the PGA Tour has had to re-work its 2016 calendar to make room for the Olympics in Rio in August. The French Open at Le Golf National’s Albatros course will begin on 30 June, two weeks prior to the third major of the season.
“Le Golf National might not be a pure links course, but it is traditionally firm and fast and can throw up some tricky conditions,” McIlroy said. “It’s a great test of golf and I think playing there, as well as staying in Europe, will offer the best conditions to prepare for The Open at Troon.”
It will be the third time that the Northern Irishman has played in the French Open. He made his debut in the event as a teenager in 2008 but missed the cut. He returned to Paris two years later and narrowly missed out on a three-man playoff after firing a superb closing 66.
The WGC Bridgestone Invitational is usually one of the four events that is sanctioned by both the European Tour and the PGA Tour under the International Federation of PGA Tour, but the former has decided not to sanction it this year, which means that it won’t count towards Ryder Cup 2016 qualification.